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Avoiding Burnout: Strategies for Self-Care (CLS15 Session)


Session D1 @ 4:30pm (~25 attendees)
Discussion: Avoiding Burnout: Strategies for Self-Care

Big Questions

What strategies can we use to prevent or recover from personal burnout?
Are there tools that can be shared to others in our communities and workplaces?
What strategies are you or your companies using to encourage self-care?

Our Discussion

When you’re in burnout phase, it affects your ability to respond quickly. What are your symptoms?

  • Quick to anger, insomnia, stomach aches, ability to respond with proportionate emotions
  • You approach the work without passion.
  • You don’t want to work or want to focus.
  • Body pain, arriving late and leaving early.

How can you tell the difference between ADHD and burnout symptoms?

  • Efficiency. ADHD which leads to quickly changing focus, you still get things done.
  • ADHD still leaves you ready to do random fun things, burnout is unwilling to do anything at all (passive vs active).
  • Keep an eye on personal patterns over a long time frame.

Has anyone had experience rolling out office programs?

  • Regular coffee meeting and an advisory staff/committee.
  • Good Stress/Bad Stress is a self-paced study where people can come together to talk about dealing with stress.

How do you manage expectations when you are reporting to someone else when you need a self-care day?

  • It eventually can affect the bottom line. Days off of work is different than losing an employee. And a healthy, happy employee is easier on the bottom line than someone who is not motivated to do the work.
  • It’s one thing to care about self-care, but managers have goals and self-care can be the last thing on their minds.

Managing expectation is the pattern you set for yourself.

What if you don’t reach the mental space to do your best work until you’re in ‘off hours’ how do you handle that?

  • Split shifts are an option, but not if you’ve got a personal life.
  • If your work is product-based, then you can simply note that the work was completed.

When we let our work remain a magic black box of arcane knowledge, the problem is that magic is instant and the work that actually goes into making our magic happen is not instant. Transparency in our workflow and level of effort is invaluable.

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.

Actionable self-care strategies:

  • Self-care days (rather than mental health days) where you are asked to unplug and your teammates are asked to respect that space.
  • Vacation days (Interesting Fact: resentment sky rockets when you haven’t taken a vacation in 4-5 months). Vacations shouldn’t feel like punishment (all the prep that goes into it, all the email that piles up while you’re out).
    • One company made a widget that shows upcoming time off, but if you don’t have any it has a message that says “Oops, you don’t have any time off scheduled!”

Big Takeaways

  • Set clear boundaries that are clear.
  • Have to embrace being comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  • It’s important to remember that… if you work based on workload, you will never stop working.
  • Use Boomerang or momentum or other things that help you automate, remind you to take breaks, or remind you of the positive things you’ve got.
  • Be aware of The Intersection of Imposter Syndrome and Burnout. That relationship can lead good people to fizzle out faster than you’d expect.

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